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Teachers Oppose Lower Standards for NY Charter Schools

A proposed regulation would allow New York charter school networks to certify their own teachers. (woodleywonderworks/Flickr)
A proposed regulation would allow New York charter school networks to certify their own teachers. (woodleywonderworks/Flickr)
July 7, 2017

ALBANY, N.Y. – New York's teachers' union is voicing its opposition to allowing some charter schools to bypass state teacher-certification requirements.

On Thursday, the State University of New York Charter School Committee approved a proposal to let some charter schools set up their own teacher-training programs.

According to Andy Pallotta, president of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), this would mean children in publicly-funded charter schools would have teachers with as little as 30 hours of classroom instruction time.

"They are lowering the standards by allowing the charter networks to go around the rigorous certification process that all teachers have to abide by to be certified in New York State," he says.

The SUNY trustees say the regulation is needed because many of the charter schools it oversees have had difficulty hiring teachers certified under current state requirements.

Right now, to be state-certified a teacher needs to have a master's degree. But Pallotta points out that the regulation would allow charter school networks to certify teachers who only have bachelor's degrees.

"We do not want to have a dual system in this state," he adds. "We want all students to have highly-prepared teachers, the best-educated teachers and a master's degree is very important."

New York is one of only five or six states that require teachers to have advanced degrees.

The regulation is now subject to a 45-day public comment period before final consideration. Pallotta says 'NYSUT' members will be sharing their opinions.

"We have a month-and-a-half to put pressure on SUNY and its trustees that this is just wrong," Pallotta continues. "It's wrong to give the ability to license and certify teachers to an industry."

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY